Cell envelope defects of different capsule-null mutants in K1 hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae can affect bacterial pathogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKP) causes Klebsiella-induced liver abscess. Capsule is important for the pathogenesis of Klebsiella in systemic infection, but its role in gut colonisation is not well understood. By generating ?wcaJ, ?wza and ?wzy capsule-null mutants in a prototypical K1 hypervirulent isolate, we show that inactivation of wza (capsule exportase) and wzy (capsule polymerase) confer cell envelope defects in addition to capsule loss, making them susceptible to bile salts and detergent stress. Bile salt resistance is restored when the initial glycosyltransferase wcaJ was inactivated together with wzy, indicating that build-up of capsule intermediates contribute to cell envelope defects. Mouse gut colonisation competition assays show that the capsule and its regulator RmpA were not required for hvKP to persist in the gut, although initial colonisation was decreased in the mutants. Both ?rmpA and ?wcaJ mutants gradually outcompeted the wild type in the gut, whereas ?wza and ?wzy mutants were less fit than wild type. Together, our results advise caution in using the right capsule-null mutant for determination of capsule's role in bacterial pathogenesis. With the use of ?wcaJ mutant, we found that although the capsule is important for bacterial survival outside the gut environment, it imposes a fitness cost in the gut.
Project description:A computational method has been developed to distinguish the Klebsiella species serotypes to aid in outbreak surveillance. A reliability score (estimated based on the accuracy of a specific K-type prediction against the dataset of 141 distinct K-types) average (ARS) that reflects the specificity between the Klebsiella species capsular polysaccharide biosynthesis and surface expression proteins, and their K-types has been established. ARS indicates the following order of potency in accurate serotyping: Wzx (ARS?=?98.5%),Wzy (ARS?=?97.5%),WbaP (ARS?=?97.2%),Wzc (ARS?=?96.4%),Wzb (ARS?=?94.3%),WcaJ (ARS?=?93.8%),Wza (ARS?=?79.9%) and Wzi (ARS?=?37.1%). Thus, Wzx, Wzy and WbaP can give more reliable K-typing compared with other proteins. A fragment-based approach has further increased the Wzi ARS from 37.1% to 80.8%. The efficacy of these 8 proteins in accurate K-typing has been confirmed by a rigorous testing and the method has been automated as K-PAM ( www.iith.ac.in/K-PAM/ ). Testing also indicates that the use of multiple genes/proteins helps in reducing the K-type multiplicity, distinguishing the K-types that have identical K-locus (like KN3 and K35) and identifying the ancestral serotypes of Klebsiella spp. K-PAM has the facilities to O-type using Wzm (ARS?=?85.7%) and Wzt (ARS?=?85.7%) and identifies the hypervirulent Klebsiella species by the use of rmpA, rmpA2, iucA, iroB and peg-344 marker genes. Yet another highlight of the server is the repository of the modeled 11 O- and 79 K- antigen 3D structures.
Project description:The polysaccharide capsule is an essential virulence factor for Klebsiella pneumoniae in both community-acquired hypervirulent strains as well as health care-associated classical strains that are posing significant challenges due to multidrug resistance. Capsule production is known to be transcriptionally regulated by a number of proteins, but very little is known about how these proteins collectively control capsule production. RmpA and RcsB are two known regulators of capsule gene expression, and RmpA is required for the hypermucoviscous (HMV) phenotype in hypervirulent K. pneumoniae strains. In this report, we confirmed that these regulators performed their anticipated functions in the ATCC 43816 derivative, KPPR1S: rcsB and rmpA mutants are HMV negative and have reduced capsule gene expression. We also identified a novel transcriptional regulator, RmpC, encoded by a gene near rmpA The ?rmpC strain has reduced capsule gene expression but retains the HMV phenotype. We further showed that a regulatory cascade exists in which KvrA and KvrB, the recently characterized MarR-like regulators, and RcsB contribute to capsule regulation through regulation of the rmpA promoter and through additional mechanisms. In a murine pneumonia model, the regulator mutants have a range of colonization defects, suggesting that they regulate virulence factors in addition to capsule. Further testing of the rmpC and rmpA mutants revealed that they have distinct and overlapping functions and provide evidence that HMV is not dependent on overproduction of capsule. This distinction will facilitate a better understanding of HMV and how it contributes to enhanced virulence of hypervirulent strains.IMPORTANCE Klebsiella pneumoniae continues to be a substantial public health threat due to its ability to cause health care-associated and community-acquired infections combined with its ability to acquire antibiotic resistance. Novel therapeutics are needed to combat this pathogen, and a greater understanding of its virulence factors is required for the development of new drugs. A key virulence factor for K. pneumoniae is the capsule, and community-acquired hypervirulent strains produce a capsule that causes hypermucoidy. We report here a novel capsule regulator, RmpC, and provide evidence that capsule production and the hypermucoviscosity phenotype are distinct processes. Infection studies showing that this and other capsule regulator mutants have a range of phenotypes indicate that additional virulence factors are in their regulons. These results shed new light on the mechanisms controlling capsule production and introduce targets that may prove useful for the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of this increasingly problematic pathogen.
Project description:Multidrug-resistant hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (MDR-hvKP) has been increasingly reported and is now recognized as a significant threat to public health; however, characterization of MDR-hvKP has not been systematically investigated. In the present study, 124 of 428 (28.92%) K. pneumoniae clinical isolates collected from January 2010 to December 2016 were identified with aerobactin and defined as hvKP; these included 94 non-MDR-KP, 20 extended-spectrum ?-lactamase-producing K. pneumoniae (ESBL-KP), and 10 carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae (CR-KP) isolates. The remaining 304 isolates without presence of virulence factor aerobactin were defined as classic K. pneumoniae (cKP). The antimicrobial resistance rate of cKP was significantly higher than that of the hvKP isolates in the non-MDR-KP group, but showed no significant differences in the ESBL-KP and CR-KP groups. The detection frequencies of capsular serotype K1 (magA), hypermucoviscosity, sequence type 23 (ST23), and the virulence gene rmpA were significantly higher in the hvKP than cKP isolates in all three groups (P < 0.05). Most of the hypervirulent ESBL-KP and CR-KP isolates were K non-typeable (16/30) and harbored at least one gene for virulence (26/30). The hypervirulent ESBL-KP isolates primarily carried bla CTX-M (12/20, 60%) genes, and the hypervirulent CR-KP isolates mainly carried bla NDM- 1 (8/10, 80%) genes. Moreover, three hypervirulent ESBL-KP and two hypervirulent CR-KP isolates showed resistance to tigecycline but were sensitive to colistin. The transcriptional levels of rmpA in cKP were much lower than that in hvKP isolates in all three groups. Furthermore, overexpression of rmpA in the rmpA-low-expression cKP isolates could enhance bacterial virulence in the mouse infection experiment. In conclusion, our data suggest that the capsular serotype K1 (magA), rmpA, hypermucoviscosity, and ST23 were strongly associated with hvKP in non-MDR-KP, ESBL-KP, and CR-KP groups, and low rmpA expression levels contributed to the absence of hypervirulent phenotype.
Project description:We report on a carbapenemase-producing hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (CP-hvKP) isolate collected from a U.S. patient at an outpatient clinic. The isolate was identified as K. pneumoniae serotype K1 sequence type 23 and included both a hypervirulence (with rmpA, rmpA2 iroBCDN, peg-344, and iucABCD-iutA genes) and a carbapenemase-encoding (bla KPC-2) plasmid. The emergence of CP-hvKP underscores the importance of clinical awareness of this pathotype and the need for continued monitoring of CP-hvKP in the United States.
Project description:A hypervirulent <i>Klebsiella pneumoniae</i> (hvKp) pathotype is undergoing global dissemination. In contrast to the usual health care-associated epidemiology of classical <i>K. pneumoniae</i> (cKp) infections, hvKp causes tissue-invasive infections in otherwise healthy individuals from the community, often involving multiple sites. An accurate test to identify hvKp strains is needed for improved patient care and epidemiologic studies. To fill this knowledge gap, clinical criteria or random blood isolates from North American and United Kingdom strain collections were used to assemble hvKp-rich (<i>n</i> = 85) and cKp-rich (<i>n</i> = 90) strain cohorts, respectively. The isolates were then assessed for multiple candidate biomarkers hypothesized to accurately differentiate the two cohorts. The genes <i>peg-344</i>, <i>iroB</i>, <i>iucA</i>, plasmid-borne <i>rmpA</i> gene ( <sub><i>p</i></sub><i>rmpA</i>), and <sub>p</sub><i>rmpA2</i> all demonstrated >0.95 diagnostic accuracy for identifying strains in the hvKp-rich cohort. Next, to validate this epidemiological analysis, all strains were assessed experimentally in a murine sepsis model. <i>peg-344</i>, <i>iroB</i>, <i>iucA</i>, <sub><i>p</i></sub><i>rmpA</i>, and <sub><i>p</i></sub><i>rmpA2</i> were all associated with a hazard ratio of >25 for severe illness or death, additionally supporting their utility for identifying hvKp strains. Quantitative siderophore production of ?30 ?g/ml also strongly predicted strains as members of the hvKp-rich cohort (accuracy, 0.96) and exhibited a hazard ratio of 31.7 for severe illness or death. The string test, a widely used marker for hvKp strains, performed less well, achieving an accuracy of only 0.90. Last, using the most accurate biomarkers to define hvKp, prevalence studies were performed on two Western strain collections. These data strongly support the utility of several laboratory markers for identifying hvKp strains with a high degree of accuracy.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Highly invasive, community-acquired Klebsiella pneumoniae infections have recently emerged, resulting in pyogenic liver abscesses. These infections are caused by hypervirulent K. pneumoniae (hvKP) isolates primarily of capsule serotype K1 or K2. Hypervirulent K1 isolates belong to clonal complex 23 (CC23), indicating that this clonal lineage has a specific genetic background conferring hypervirulence. Here, we apply whole-genome sequencing to a collection of K. pneumoniae isolates to characterize the phylogenetic background of hvKP isolates with an emphasis on CC23. Most of the hvKP isolates belonged to CC23 and grouped into a distinct monophyletic clade, revealing that CC23 is a unique clonal lineage, clearly distinct from nonhypervirulent strains. Separate phylogenetic analyses of the CC23 isolates indicated that the CC23 lineage evolved recently by clonal expansion from a single common ancestor. Limited grouping according to geographical origin was observed, suggesting that CC23 has spread globally through multiple international transmissions. Conversely, hypervirulent K2 strains clustered in genetically unrelated groups. Strikingly, homologues of a large virulence plasmid were detected in all hvKP clonal lineages, indicating a key role in K. pneumoniae hypervirulence. The plasmid encodes two siderophores, aerobactin and salmochelin, and RmpA (regulator of the mucoid phenotype); all these factors were found to be restricted to hvKP isolates. Genomic comparisons revealed additional factors specifically associated with CC23. These included a distinct variant of a genomic island encoding yersiniabactin, colibactin, and microcin E492. Furthermore, additional novel genomic regions unique to CC23 were revealed which may also be involved in the increased virulence of this important clonal lineage. IMPORTANCE:During the last 3 decades, hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKP) isolates have emerged, causing severe community-acquired infections primarily in the form of pyogenic liver abscesses. This syndrome has so far primarily been found in Southeast Asia, but increasing numbers of cases are being reported worldwide, indicating that the syndrome is turning into a globally emerging disease. We applied whole-genome sequencing to a collection of K. pneumoniae clinical isolates to reveal the phylogenetic background of hvKP and to identify genetic factors associated with the increased virulence. The hvKP isolates primarily belonged to clonal complex 23 (CC23), and this clonal lineage was revealed to be clearly distinct from nonhypervirulent strains. A specific virulence plasmid was found to be associated with hypervirulence, and novel genetic determinants uniquely associated with CC23 were identified. Our findings extend the understanding of the genetic background of the emergence of hvKP clones.
Project description:To investigate the virulence of capsular polysaccharide export protein (Wza) in carbapenem-resistant <i>Acinetobacter baumannii</i> and its effect on capsule formation.<i>wza</i> gene knockout and complementation strains were constructed, and changes in bacterial virulence were observed using <i>in vitro</i> adhesion, antiserum complement killing, anti-oxidation experiments, and infections in <i>Galleria mellonella</i> and mice. The effect of <i>wza</i> knockout on the genes <i>wzb</i> and <i>wzc</i> and <i>wzi</i> were assessed by RT-PCR.We successfully constructed <i>wza</i> knockout and complementation strains. Compared with wild-type (WT) strains, <i>wza</i> knockout strains displayed lower adhesion to A549 cells (<i>p</i> = 0.044), lower antiserum complement killing ability (<i>p</i> = 0.001), and lower mortality of <i>G. mellonella</i> (<i>p</i> = 0.010) and mice (<i>p</i> = 0.033). Expression levels of <i>wzb, wzc</i> and <i>wzi</i> were decreased in <i>wza</i> knockout strains. The antioxidant capacity of Wza knockout bacteria was only slightly decreased. Complementation of the <i>wza</i> gene returned the adhesion ability, antiserum complement killing ability, and mortality of <i>G. mellonella</i> and mic<u>e</u> to WT levels. Expression of <i>wzb, wzc</i> and <i>wzi</i> was also returned to WT levels following <i>wza</i> complementation.The results clearly demonstrate that Wza is toxic. Wza affects the expression of othe<u>r</u> proteins of the Wzy capsule polysaccharide synthesis pathway, which affects the assembly, export, and extracellular fixation of capsular polysaccharide, resulting in synergistic effects that decrease bacterial virulence.
Project description:Hypervirulent variants of Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKp) that cause invasive community-acquired pyogenic liver abscess (PLA) have emerged globally. Little is known about the virulence determinants associated with hvKp, except for the virulence genes rmpA/A2 and siderophores (iroBCD/iucABCD) carried by the pK2044-like large virulence plasmid. Here, we collected most recent clinical isolates of hvKp from PLA samples in China, and performed clinical, molecular, and genomic sequencing analyses. We found that 90.9% (40/44) of the pathogens causing PLA were K. pneumoniae. Among the 40 LA-Kp, K1 (62.5%), and K2 (17.5%) were the dominant serotypes, and ST23 (47.5%) was the major sequence type. S1-PFGE analyses demonstrated that although 77.5% (31/40) of the LA-Kp isolates harbored a single large virulence plasmid varied in size, 5 (12.5%) isolates had no plasmid and 4 (10%) had two or three plasmids. Whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis of 3 LA-Kp and 3 non-LA-Kp identified 133 genes present only in LA-Kp. Further, large scale screening of the 133 genes in 45 LA-Kp and 103 non-LA-Kp genome sequences from public databases identified 30 genes that were highly associated with LA-Kp, including iroBCD, iucABCD and rmpA/A2 and 21 new genes. Then, these 21 new genes were analyzed in 40 LA-Kp and 86 non-LA-Kp clinical isolates collected in this study by PCR, showing that new genes were present 80-100% among LA-Kp isolates while 2-11% in K. pneumoniae isolates from sputum and urine. Several of the 21 genes have been proposed as virulence factors in other bacteria, such as the gene encoding SAM-dependent methyltransferase and pagO which protects bacteria from phagocytosis. Taken together, these genes are likely new virulence factors contributing to the hypervirulence phenotype of hvKp, and may deepen our understanding of virulence mechanism of hvKp.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The definition of hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (hvKp), traditionally regarded as hypermucoviscosity, is controversial. However, data based on both phenotype (hypermucoviscous) and genetic (aerobactin) criteria are limited. METHODS:A retrospective study was conducted in 175 geriatric patients between January 2008 and January 2014. The clinical and molecular data, including antimicrobial susceptibility testing, extended-spectrum-?-lactamase (ESBL) production, virulence gene, and multilocus sequence typing of the hvKp-group (hypermucoviscosity and aerobactin positive) were compared with those of classic K. pneumoniae (cKp) isolates. RESULTS:Of 175 Kp isolates, 45.7% were hvKp. In pathogenicity, K1, K2, magA, rmpA, and rmpA2 genes were strongly associated with hvKp (P?<?0.01). In the hvKp group, invasive infections (P?<?0.000), liver abscess (P?=?0.008), abdominal infection (P?=?0.002) and septic shock (P?=?0.035) are significantly higher than cKp group. Patients with better nutritional status were frequently infected with hvKp. However, host inflammatory reaction is most severe in hvKp group. Patients with diabetes (odds ratio [OR]?=?2.548) and digestive diseases (OR?=?2.196) are more likely to be infected with hvKp. Importantly, the detection of hvKp isolates increased from January 2008 to January 2010, January 2010 to January 2012, and January 2010 to January 2014 (12, 30, and 48 isolates, respectively). Overall, 16.3% of hvKp isolates produced ESBLs and 20.0% were MDR-hvKp. Multivariate analysis implied that infection occurred in the ICU (OR?=?5.826) and patients with indwelling stomach tubes (OR?=?6.461) are independent risk factors for ESBL-hvKp infection. CONCLUSIONS:HvKp, especially ESBL-hvKp and MDR-hvKp, is emerging in the elderly. It is essential to enhance clinical awareness and management of hvKp infections.
Project description:Capsular polysaccharides (CPSs) are virulence factors for many important pathogens. In Escherichia coli, CPSs are synthesized via two distinct pathways, but both require proteins from the outer membrane polysaccharide export (OPX) family to complete CPS export from the periplasm to the cell surface. In this study, we compare the properties of the OPX proteins from the prototypical group 1 (Wzy-dependent) and group 2 (ABC transporter-dependent) pathways in E. coli K30 (Wza) and E. coli K2 (KpsD), respectively. In addition, we compare an OPX from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (VexA), which shares structural properties with Wza, while operating in an ABC transporter-dependent pathway. These proteins differ in distribution in the cell envelope and formation of stable multimers, but these properties do not align with acylation or the interfacing biosynthetic pathway. In E. coli K2, murein lipoprotein (Lpp) plays a role in peptidoglycan association of KpsD, and loss of this interaction correlates with impaired group 2 capsule production. VexA also depends on Lpp for peptidoglycan association, but CPS production is unaffected in an lpp mutant. In contrast, Wza and group 1 capsule production is unaffected by the absence of Lpp. These results point to complex structure-function relationships between different OPX proteins.IMPORTANCE Capsules are protective layers of polysaccharides that surround the cell surface of many bacteria, including that of Escherichia coli isolates and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Capsular polysaccharides (CPSs) are often essential for virulence because they facilitate evasion of host immune responses. The attenuation of unencapsulated mutants in animal models and the involvement of protein families with conserved features make the CPS export pathway a novel candidate for therapeutic strategies. However, appropriate "antivirulence" strategies require a fundamental understanding of the underpinning cellular processes. Investigating export proteins that are conserved across different biosynthesis strategies will give important insight into how CPS is transported to the cell surface.